Groan. THE SCORPION KING, directed by Chuck Russell (BLESS THE CHILD), must
come from some parallel universe in which every movie is a turkey. In that
alternate world, it strives to be king. Unlike BATTLEFIELD EARTH, which was so
laughably bad that it was almost enjoyable at times, THE SCORPION KING is
stupefyingly terrible from beginning to end. Starring the WWF wrestler known as
The Rock, the movie can best be thought of as a non-stop, violent video game for
12-year-old boys who love watching the WWF's choreographed mayhem.
For those of you who have never cultivated a taste for professional wrestling,
you will probably remember The Rock from THE MUMMY RETURNS, in which he had a
small role. THE SCORPION KING is a spin off from THE MUMMY's lucrative
Perhaps the movie's biggest surprise is that it took only four writers, Jonathan
Hales, David Hayter, William Osborne and Stephen Sommers to come up with
something this awful. Typical of the homilies it gives us is "Live well. Die
well." Dramatic moments merit such treasures as, "I've come for the woman --
and your head."
An instant candidate for worst-of-the-year lists, it doesn't have anything on
its mind other than brawling with big knives and shiny swords. The setup has
Mathayus (The Rock) fighting Memnon (Steven Brand) to the death in a long series
of battles. (Mathayus eventually wins the title of Scorpion King, and shortly
thereafter sets us up for a sequel.) Kelly Hu is on board as a character called
Cassandra. Her only purpose is to show off as much of her breasts as possible
in a PG-13 movie. Michael Clarke Duncan, as Balthazar, comes to Mathayus's aid,
and Grant Heslov plays Mathayus's canonical comedic sidekick.
Still, if you are a 12-year-old boy -- plus or minus a year or two -- this is
just the motion picture for you, filled with mindless moments of breathtaking
idiocy but with lots of action.
THE SCORPION KING runs 1:25. It is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of action
violence and some sensuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and
My son Jeffrey, who just turned 13, gave it *** 1/2. He liked the sets, the
costumes, the cleavage, the story and the action.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes